Sustainability and environmental enhancement in changing circumstances

Adaptation of Nitraria sphaerocarpa to wind-blown sand environmentsat the edge of a desert oasis

LI Qiu-yan , ZHAO Wen-zhi , FANG Hai-yan


Received August 20, 2006,Revised November 24, 2006, Accepted , Available online

Volume 19,2007,Pages 482-487

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This study addresses the adaptation of Nitraria sphaerocarpa to blown sand at the edge of a desert oasis with regard to the aspects of soil seed banks, seedlings, and population. Horizontally, the total number of seeds per unit area decreased from the shrub canopy center to intershrub areas, and most seeds were found under shrub canopies. Vertically, the highest proportion of seeds was found at depths of 5–10 cm. The emergence percentage, seedling mass, and seedling height, which were significantly a ected by both burial depth and seed size, were highest at the optimal burial depth of 2 cm, and decreased with increasing burial depth in each seed size-class. Although seedling mass was usually greatest for large seeds and least for small seeds at each burial depth, little di erence was observed in seedling height at shallow burial depths of 0–3 cm. The population shows a patchy and discontinuous distribution pattern. Population height increases with increasing sand depth. Also the density increases with increasing depth of sand in the desert; however, there is a steady decrease when the depth of sand is more than 100 cm. This result indicates that the depth of sand that is most suitable for the growth of Nitraria sphaerocarpa is 100 cm. The size of the population is significantly correlated with the sand depth, which increases with increasing depth in the desert.

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